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Messages - dombrosk

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GPS & Digital Data Discussion / After-Tour Track Maps
« on: July 16, 2010, 05:16:27 pm »
During a recent tour I had my Garmin capturing daily tracks files, which I downloaded to my computer. 

I'd like to be able to easily see each days ride on a map.  seems to be a great site,
easily produces a map with elevation profiles for each day.

You can choose to have maps private or public,
here's one day I made public:

Do folks have recommendations for other tools/sites for the after-tour part of the ride?

Thanks in advance!

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: fietsersbond / Netherlands
« on: July 16, 2010, 10:40:20 am »
Having just returned from 3 weeks of biking across the Netherlands and Germany, I wanted to share what I learned about using the fietersbond web site.

First, the Netherlands has two parallel bike networks, both of which can be used from this website.  The "recreatieve" or green system is more scenic, but can be longer point to point.  The "van-deur-tot-deur" or red system is more direct, but often uses bike paths that parallel the roads and highways.

When biking, direction signs often include both 'red' and 'green' routes to the same destination, with distances to let you know the tradeoffs.

I used the 'green' routing from Schiphol Airport to Haarlem, and it was a far more pleasant ride than the slightly more direct route most websites steer you towards.

To get the routings onto my Garmin, I used the free Garmin Base Camp application to import the tracks files created by the web site, and then had Base Camp convert the tracks into routes before loading them.  It was fun jumping from Base Camp into Google Earth and then Google Street View to get a preview of parts of my route.

This was both my first European tour and my first time using a GPS... I definitely plan to return to Europe with my bike, and the GPS was a real asset. 

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« on: July 14, 2010, 11:07:54 am »
"Thanks for the suggestions. I'm in Yuma, AZ and would prefer to buy from my LBS...
Any other suggestions for a touring bike without drops?"

My local bike shop built a touring setup for me based on a Surley Cross-Check frame, avoiding drop handlebars... with bar ends to provide multiple riding positions.  We went with the Cross Check to get adequate stand-over height in for my size and height.  Because the Cross Check is Surley's basic steel frame, even built up with nice components and racks the complete bike was well under $2000.

Surley is -- a national bike shop supplier, your shop should be able to get the frame easily.

Folks who like drop bars prefer them, just like folks who prefer recumbents like those.  Some of us really do like riding upright with bar ends to get even more upright.  You might want to experiment with different stems when you get whatever bike you choose, I found that slight changes in the height and angle of my stem made a big difference in my level of fun. 

I've toured and commuted thousands of miles on my Cross Check, including just getting home from 3 weeks of riding across Germany and the Netherlands with it, and still really enjoy the bike.

Good luck with the purchase and happy biking!

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / fietsersbond / Netherlands
« on: June 01, 2010, 06:29:29 am »
There's a great web planning resource at:
that lets you plot door-to-door tours using
the extensive bike network for the Netherlands.

Each customized tour has a download GPS option.

Have any forum users tried this feature?
Any tips for a newbie?

I'm using a Garmin GPS 60CSx with the Garmin
Europe city map set.

Thanks for all the prior advice on this forum!

Gear Talk / Sunscreen
« on: May 18, 2010, 08:20:06 pm »
Bike commuting doesn't call for much sunscreen here in Minnesota during the winter, but when I did my first 50+ weekend ride last Sunday to get ready for summer touring, I was reminded of the need for some protection.

For us folks with sensitive/reactive skin, who can't use just any product, what brand/formula keeps you happy?

Gear Talk / Re: For you Surly Cross Check owners
« on: April 21, 2010, 07:29:00 pm »
I've been touring (and commuting) with my Cross Check for two years and been very happy with it.  To get heel clearance I needed to go with the Jannd Expedition rack on the rear, but have used the Surly Nice Rack on the front, I really appreciate the double mounting option, I like riding with the front panniers very low.

My friendly genius mechanic at my Local Bicycle Shop came up with a nice mounting system for my rack and fender,  4 photos below:

Gear Talk / Re: Best rear panniers for a size 13 shoe
« on: April 21, 2010, 07:06:56 am »
The rack may also make a difference for you.  I had troubles nudging my rear pannier until I switched to a Jannd Expedition Rack, it lets me slide the panniers much further back.

When I rode the Western Northern Tier in June a few years ago I traveled with a 20 degree bag that was handy up in the Cascades but overkill in some situations. 

In reaction I got a Marmot sleep sack that is great for summer in the Great Plains, but gets chilly below 50.,117

Like Goldilocks in the three bears house, I've been looking for something in between and just picked up a Mountain Hardwear 45 degree bag.  It feels warmer than the rating, and comes with a full hood built in.

Mountain Hardwear also makes a  35 degree version of the same basic design.

Happy Riding!

Gear Talk / Re: Touring Shoes, Cleat Selection and Toe Clip Survey
« on: April 11, 2010, 11:44:05 am »
After reading this thread, I was inspired to look into new shoes, and discovered at my local bike shop that Keen now makes an SPD compatible bike shoe in addition to their bike sandals.  Like other Keen shoes, it has a huge toe box and is very comfortable. 

Because I'm planning a European tour this summer it's a plus for me that it doesn't look like athletic equipment... I think this one shoe could work for riding during the day and dressing up a bit for dinner at night.

Here's more info:

Routes / BENELUX / Mosel
« on: April 04, 2010, 12:10:08 pm »
I'm planning a June/July tour from Amsterdam through Haarlem, Urk, Arnhem to Maastricht, then down Eastern Belgium and Luxembourg to Trier, Germany, finally along the Mosel Valley to Koblenz.  (taking trains with my bike back to Amsterdam for return flight)

I'd love to hear from folks who have experience with any parts of this tour, or general tips for European touring and getting my bicycle safely across as baggage on my flight.

Gear Talk / Re: Mitts or Gloves for extreme cold
« on: April 01, 2010, 05:59:37 pm »
I've commuted for four winters now in Minnesota, 10 miles each way, and ride down to zero (or slightly below).  For temps below 15 I wear one or two pairs of thin polypro glove liners underneath Pearl Izumi lobster gloves. 

Cycling Events / Minnesota MS TRAM
« on: June 02, 2007, 01:23:28 pm »
This year will be my 7th time out on this five day tour.  

The 2007 route, riding July 22 to 27, includes a connection to the Northern Tier in Itasca State Park, headwaters of the Mississippi River.  Ride is supported with luggage trucks to carry gear, most riders camp each night.

Friendly community of riders, family atmosphere, all riding levels welcomed, professional routing (with help of Adventure Cycling!)

Excellent financial management, most funds raised go directly to cause of assisting people with MS and researching new treatments.

For more information:

Gear Talk / Search for new Rain Jacket
« on: July 29, 2008, 07:01:04 pm »
I'm a big fan of the "eVent" fabric.  I've been using a Pearl Izumi jacket made of it for 3 years now with good service.  It's so breathable that I can wear it as a windbreaker, and I once biked for 3 days in Western Montana in a constant cold rain and was very comfortable.  My previous experience had also been with GoreTex and the improvement was astounding. I haven't had any experience with the "Artex"

Gear Talk / Touring Saddles?
« on: July 15, 2008, 01:40:07 pm »
I've been very happy with Serfas RX saddles.  They have an open groove in the middle that does reduce numbness and soreness for me.  I find that I can easily pedal 80 plus miles on mine without discomfort.  They do make different widths... for touring I'd recommend going narrower, some of their saddles seem designed more for Sunday afternoon rides around the park.  (And I also recommend Chamois Butt'r... )

Gear Talk / Hybrid for touring
« on: September 22, 2007, 09:31:46 pm »
After about 20 years of upright riding with a modified hybrid Diamondback Lakeside as an all-around touring/commuting bike, I just ordered a new customized Surly Cross-Check today.  Might be worth looking into for you,

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